The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Wednesday, June 16, 2004  

Items in the News
June 16, 2004

Due to a bizarre household accident on Friday, which resulted in an emergency room visit (the first refuge of the uninsured), I’m supposed to be off my feet and on my back. I’m cheating: I’m sitting in a chair.

The Dark Arts
William Safire, that nattering nabob of necromancy, is at it again, scaring up the ghost of former President Richard M. Nixon, this time for a Noonanesque “interview” from purgatory (ha, ha) about Iraq, Al Ghraib (it’s the media’s fault, natch), Afghanistan, the Clinton portraits, and the Washington Redskins. Channeling the dead is a trite and tiresome literary device even in the best of hands; employed by the likes of Safire, it’s just plain weird.

Truth or Consequences?
Never one to let a little truth get in the way of the desired consequences, Vice President Dick Cheney yesterday, speaking at a right-wing think tank in Florida, said Saddam Hussein had “long-established ties” with al Qaida. According to the Associated Press, “The vice president . . . offered no details backing up his claim.” Today, however, the A.P. reports, to anyone and everyone who is listening, a group that obviously excludes Vice President Cheney: “Bluntly contradicting the Bush administration, the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks reported Wednesday there was ‘no credible evidence’ that Saddam Hussein helped al-Qaida target the United States.”

Dr. Freud, Please Call Your Office
For a guy who’s so quick to cast aspersions on the mental health of former Vice President Al Gore, right-wing pundit Charles Krauthammer shows signs of, among much else, psychosis, delusion, and aphasia. You see, according to Krauthammer last week’s seemingly endless Reagan love-in was actually a nasty hate-fest, just more evidence of the nefarious intent of “the liberal establishment.”

Speaking the Truth to Error I
Paul Krugman on our un-illustrious attorney general: “No question: John Ashcroft is the worst attorney general in history.” And that’s just Krugman’s opening line.

Speaking the Truth to Error II
Frank Rich recalls the real President Ronald Reagan in Sunday’s New York Times in “First Reagan, Now His Stunt Double.”

Crediting the Discredited
Paul Gigot and the wacky gang at The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page continue to provide space for those seeking to credit the discredited Laurie Mylroie; in this case, Herbert E. Meyer, a CIA official under former President Reagan, in “Intelligence Tenets” (June 14) [Subscription required.]

Specter’s Desperation
Lynn Yeakel, who in 1992 came painfully close to defeating Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), on Monday night hosted a fundraiser for Rep. Joe Hoeffel (D-Pa.), this year’s challenger to Bush-family ally Sen. Specter. Reflecting, I think, the desperation of the incumbent Republican, campaign manager Christopher Nicholas described the event as “just another fund-raiser with an ultra-left, ultra-liberal Democrat,” something Yeakel is decidedly not. (To contribute to the Hoeffel campaign against Specter, click here.)

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